Ceviche Campechano

Despite the title, this is yet another Christmas posting. It starts with an exchange of gifts and ends with an octopus and shrimp cocktail.

Christmas celebrations in my little family have contracted dramatically over the years, in the face of deaths and (my) disabilities. We’re down to a minimal exchange of gifts (expanded considerably for the kid in the family), followed by the classic Christmas meal at a Chinese restaurant (Tai Pan in Palo Alto).

On the gifts: For my daughter, Steve Pinker’s The Sense of Style. For my son-in-law, a subscription to Funny Times. For my grand-daughter, the set of the four Ice Age films. About these charming movies, from Wikipedia:

The Ice Age franchise produced by Blue Sky Studios, a division of 20th Century Fox, and featuring the voices of Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, and Chris Wedge. Four films have been released in the series thus far, Ice Age in 2002, Ice Age: The Meltdown in 2006, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs in 2009 and Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012. A fifth film, titled Ice Age 5, is set to be released in 2016. The series follows a group of mammals surviving the Paleolithic ice age.

From my family, as is customary, one penguin-related little gift (a t-shirt with piano keys, each key a penguin) and one only incidentally so (a box of cookery postcards from Penguin, 100 cookbook covers in the box), The t-shirt, slightly cropped on the sides:

Among the cookery cards:

Mrs. Beeton’s Cold Sweets: Jellies, Creams. Fruit Dishes, Cold Puddings and Ices: 350 recipes fully illustrated (1st ed. 1925)

Ambrose Heath, Good Dishes from Tinned Foods (1939)

Countess Morphy, British Recipes: The Traditional Dishes of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales (1948)

I’m especially dubious about the Heath and Morphy books. But I can still appreciate the cards.

At this point in the day, we would ordinarily move on to Tai Pan, but I’d been up since 1 in the morning (my sleep patterns have been deranged) and desperately needed a nap, so I opted out of Tai Pan (there were still seven in the party), in favor of going later to Reposado, for Mexican rather than Chinese.

That’s where the ceviche comes in. From the menu:

CEVICHE CAMPECHANO: Octopus, shrimp, avocado, peppers, marinated in lime juice and onions

Two parts: ceviche and Campechano.

Ceviche is raw (or lightly cooked) seafood marinated in (and so “cooked” by) citrus juices, lime or lemon: fish (the most common ingredient), shrimp, scallops, octopus, squid, crab, mussels. (Discussion of ceviche, with a photo, in a posting of 8/13/13.) Reposado offers several ceviches (including ceviche de hamachi, with yellowtail); the Campechano combines octopus ceviche (ceviche de pulpo) and shrimp ceviche (ceviche de camarón). I’m very fond of it.

As for Campechano, that means from the southeast Mexican state of Campeche (from Wikipedia: “bordered by the states of Yucatán to the north east, Quintana Roo to the east, and Tabasco to the south west. To the south it is bordered by the Petén department of Guatemala, to the east by Belize and to the west by the Gulf of Mexico.”) Apparently, campechano is also usable figuratively, to convey positive associations of campesino ‘peasant’: open, cordial, friendly; earthy, homey.

After the ceviche and a dessert, it was time for the reckoning. And the management announced that the meal was a Christmas present from them to me! A wonderful gesture.

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